Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Report Cards

Evidently Nolan's teacher was "directed" to my blog a while back.  This entry is for Ms. Pala: Thank you for validating me in Nolan's report card by acknowledging the fact that I put his folder in his backpack 9 out of 9 weeks.  I don't know that Nolan will ever be "proficient" in listening or following directions.  Sorry about that.

Brenden's teachers are both on maternity leave.  He has two teachers who were due within a week of each other.  He really, really likes them.  Their report card comments are always worded in a way that would make any mother proud of her son.  They always manage to highlight Brenden's best traits and I appreciate it.

Finally, today is Brenden's 8th birthday.  I love that boy.  He never once complained that today wasn't all about him.  Tuesdays are rough.

Friday, March 25, 2011

We're BACK!

Most people don't even know we were gone, but we spent the last two weeks away from home.  We visited our families in Utah and Idaho.  More on that later.  I just had to share something before I forgot.

Brenden is usually sensitive (or annoyed, I'm not sure) about other kids asking him what his cochlear implants are.  On the plane home, an 8 year old boy asked him what they were and he slouched down in his seat and mumbled "implants."  The boy asked him what they were for and Brenden told him they were for hearing.  The boy then said, "Those are SO COOL!"  Brenden noticeably sat up taller and prouder and told the boy all about his CIs.  He also proudly shared all about his brothers being deaf too.

Brenden's new CIs are really cool.  I think he is happy with them and they have cool covers to decorate them up.  I was so glad that boy was on the plane with us.  I was thrilled to see Brenden show some pride in his implants.

Brenden's new implants are black.  I gave him the option of brown to match his hair color, but the black looks really cool and tech-y, like the computers and tvs that are out right now.
With the mini battery
Brenden's favorite cover
 We also have these covers:
The covers for little girls are way cuter - I have mine all picked out for the day I become deaf.  Ethan's implants are charcoal color.  The boys each have soccer covers and share the others.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Coolest thing EVER!

Click for a way better, way bigger picture
We missed the best part because all of Doug's camera batteries were dead. He plugged the battery in just long enough to get 2 shots. Now that he has it all figured out, we'll get you better pictures next time. This is from our deck. If we drove a little ways or walked out onto the lake, we could do much better - but it's cold.

And then he charged it again.
He's still out there taking pictures, but I need some sleep!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Doug and I drove to Anchorage on Friday morning for Cameron's ABR.  It was so nice to have Doug go with me.  Tiffany kept the other boys so that Doug and I could dedicate our whole day to Cameron alone.  We had to keep Cameron awake on the drive to Anchorage, which is not easy - usually I depend on him sleeping the whole way there.  Doug sat in back with him half way and then I took over for the second half.

We arrived at the audiologist, they hooked Cameron up with the electrodes, and he went right to sleep.  He woke up quite a few times during the test, so I had to keep feeding him to put him back to sleep.  He slept well enough that they have pretty reliable results and Cameron will get his hearing aids this Friday.  Brenden will also get new implants on Friday, the same kind that Ethan has.

I am so glad to live in a time when technology is so advanced that they can test an infant, program digital hearing aids, and eventually perform cochlear implant surgery so that my totally deaf children can live life like a hearing child.  Cameron will most likely get his cochlear implants earlier than the other boys did, so his delay should be very minimal.  It all depends on how quickly he loses his hearing.

I am thankful that my kids have terrible hearing instead of moderate.  That will most likely sound odd to most people, but I can't imagine having a kid who didn't quite qualify for a cochlear implant, but hearing aids didn't help enough.  There is a fine line there that I couldn't handle.

I am including pictures of all 3 boys' first audiograms. Brenden was tested so late, his hearing was basically non-existent. On the picture, the x's are the left ear and the o's are the right ear. There is something called a "speech banana" that shows where the sounds of speech are found on the audiogram. If their x or o is below the sound, they are not able to properly hear the sound thus less likely to properly produce the sound. Also included in the picture are other common sounds.
Finding Cameron's results so early will be very benefitial and he may be able to avoid the huge delay we had to combat with Brenden.  But look at Brenden now.  He won't let anything stop him.

I also must say how glad I am to have my degree in Deaf Education.  The whole situations surrounding being admited to the program was amazing and inspired.  I knew it would be important in my life, but I have to say, I never thought I would use it as much as I do - every.single.day.  I had to take audiology and speech classes and I think that, above all else, these have been more important on a daily basis than anything else I could have learned.  I have been in the process of being prepared for these kids since I was a teenager and I can fully recognize that now.  No teenager sits in her weekly sign language class or a deaf ward with her whole family and thinks, "I might have deaf kids someday."  Or three.

A woman came to me at church on Sunday and said, "It never occured to me that something like this would bother you.  To me, it's the same as having a child with blue eyes and another with brown.  Then again, I never had a blue eyed child."  I was completely shocked and had no reply.

It occurred to me last night just how insane our family schedule is, I guess I had always looked at my own personal schedule and thought that was bad enough.  My mom called me when we were in Anchorage and asked me to make a video with our whole family.  It doesn't sound like a hard thing to do, but we still haven't all been together since then.  By the time we picked up our boys that night, it was 10:00 and we rushed them home to bed.  Doug left for work by 8:15 Saturday and was home at 7:45, after the kids were in bed.  Sunday, Doug was gone to work by 9:15 and the boys and I were rushing to get to church on time.  Doug was home a little after 7:00, in time to read a book to the kids and get them to bed.  Monday Brenden is out the door by 8:10 and Doug isn't home until 9:45, Tuesday Ethan is out the door by 7:20 and again, Doug isn't home until 9:30 or so.  Tonight, Doug is off work earlier, but he and I both have meetings at the church at 7:00 and Ethan is supposed to be in bed by 6:30 when he has school (since he has to be up at 6:55).  Thursday Doug works late again and then Friday morning, we all have to leave by 8:00 for Anchorage again.  Sometimes I look at our schedule and I am amazed. 

Doug has worked the last 5 Saturdays and 6 Sundays in a row.  I am pretty grumpy about it.  I did not sign up to be a single mom.

I have a whole much-more-fun-for-you-to-read blog ready to post as soon as I edit the videos.